“Clawback” Hearing Yields Pledge for a “Top-to-Bottom” Review of SSA policies - KFF Health News

Acting SSA Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi, in response to concerns expressed in yesterday’s House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing, accepted accountability for the problem now affecting millions of Social Security beneficiaries, and noted that a team has been formed to investigate the handling of billions of dollars of incorrect and excess payments. She noted that she has ordered a “top-to-bottom, comprehensive review” of the problem and how it responds to overpayment situations.

The Agency’s funding concerns surfaced as part of the hearing dialog, with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) suggesting “years of underfunding has severely eroded the Social Security Administration’s customer service.” Other subcommittee members also noted that the Social Security Administration has been slow to pursue automation of some of the processes that have contributed to the overpayment problem; Ms. Kijakazi responded with promises to update the subcommittee later on specific automation projects currently on the drawing board.

For a recap of the hearing by David Hilzenrath and Jodie Fleischer appearing on kffhealthnews.org, click here.

As noted in our post earlier this week announcing the subcommittee hearing, overpayments can result from a variety of situations, including misunderstanding of the rules associated with Social Security’s confusing earnings tests for claimants drawing benefits before full retirement age, simple errors in the calculation of benefit amounts, or confusion on pensions from employment in jobs not covered by Social Security. In any event, seniors receiving demand letters are advised to seek a full explanation of the circumstances associated with the overpayment and, if they are not in agreement with the explanation, file a “Request for Reconsideration” with SSA.

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